Platforms at the Brechin-based Caledonian Railway are undergoing extensive renovations thanks to a £60,000 grant from Angus Council.
The community group of volunteers which runs the popular tourist attraction is drawn from all over Angus, with the project co-ordinator, Tommy Henderson, hailing from Forfar.
The funding, part of a £200,000 ‘Survive and Thrive’ cultural heritage tourism fund, was awarded to the charity-run railway to overhaul the decaying platforms at Bridge of Dun station near Montrose.
The railway, which re-opens on Easter Sunday, was one of five voluntary organisations who successfully applied to the fund which is aimed at helping volunteer run tourist attractions improve facilities for visitors.
Volunteers have been quick to thank the council for the award.
Tommy said: “Angus Council’s ‘Survive and Thrive’ fund is a real lifesaver for the Caledonian Railway - a project like this is hugely important to the future of the operation, but would otherwise be very difficult to finance.”
Volunteer Steve Pegg continued: “People prefer to donate their money to something that they can relate to. Platforms are just not interesting enough and most of our visitors are too busy having a look at the train to notice what they’re standing on”.
“In the past five years the railway has re-invested far in excess of £100,000.00 on essential repairs to infrastructure that the public do not see.”
Blair Winton of the railway added: “The grant scheme demonstrates a major commitment to attractions like our own.”
“The railway attracts more than 16,000 visitors to the area each year and there is no doubt they will be pleased to see the improvements. We are sure this will keep us on the right track and help to grow our visitor numbers in future years.”
The platforms, which have had to be patched up on a yearly basis since the railway took over from British Rail in 1981, are being rebuilt with all new platform edging copes and tactile slabs to comply with current railway regulations.
Traditional lime mortar methods are being used to repair the original platform walls, which have also required an extensive amount of work.
It is hoped that one of the platforms will be ready in time for the “Easter Eggspress” trains at the end of this month, however the grand reopening is planned to be held at a later date.
The Easter services, to be held on Sunday, March 31, will see Bridge of Dun station being linked up with House of Dun and Montrose by vintage bus in addition to steam trains and activities at the railway.
More information and train times can be found at www.caledonianrailway.com